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  1. #1
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    First time going clipless

    i have been riding with friends who have been into MTB for a long time and they all have suggested going clipless.

    i was very hesitant because i just feared that going clipless will be the end of me. i just do not like the idea of my feet tied to my pedals specially when im about to crash.

    despite this fear, ive read and read and read about pros & cons of going clipless and just going platform which is what im using right now.

    from what ive read both platform and clipless have good arguments and i was going for a low profile and light platform pedal i got swayed into trying clipless.

    so now, i have the SPD M540, tried it out last night and fell off balance only once. ive set it to least tension and looks like i was able to well.

    now, my question, i usually ride a trail with single tracks and has sharp uphill curves(best way i can describe it), was i WRONG to understand id be able to go clipless with this kind of terrain?

    was i reading it wrong when i read clipless is the way to go only to find out the post was not really pertaining to trail riding?

    im just planning to take along my platform pedals just in case i need to switch.. .that's if i dont hurt myself.. first..

    thanks.
    Last edited by bapski; 09-27-2012 at 07:47 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Generally you can clean more difficult up hill sections with cleats than without cleats...

    Especiall steep uphill corners....

    Basically riding up a bermed run....

  3. #3
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    My philosophy for going clipless, especially on terrain as you're speaking of, is to keep the bike upright and rolling, and keep my cadence up. Worrying about what will happen if I spill is a waste of time - worry about clearing that uphill and keeping the rubber side down. I belive this has made me a better rider

  4. #4
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    Your first ride after a vasectomy can be painful. I'd keep it on smoother trails and build up ride time and mileage as you recover and ...

    Oh, you meant first time "clipless" !
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  5. #5
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    I went clipless after 2 months. My advice is that you just have to anticipate further ahead when you need your foot. My example would be when I was riding with a group, the rider in front of me was struggling up a hill. I just had to have the presence of mind that I was going to need to clip out. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and you do it without even thinking about it. The trick is to keep moving!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZmyDust View Post
    My philosophy for going clipless, especially on terrain as you're speaking of, is to keep the bike upright and rolling, and keep my cadence up. Worrying about what will happen if I spill is a waste of time - worry about clearing that uphill and keeping the rubber side down. I belive this has made me a better rider
    Yup!!

    I have 4 clipless rides under my belt now, and that is my philosophy as well. If I fall, oh well, I fall. Nobody ever said mountainbiking was safe. If I wanted to be safe I'd stick to the road.

    I installed the clpless just before getting back into MTB after years out of it, so I needed a little brush up on my skills. I think the clipless is helping me do that, as I'm making more of an effort to clear technical stuff rather than just dabbing. Since I'm still not confident that I can clip out quickly when I need to, I always think to myself "clear it or fall". And since it's usually some sort of rocky section that will give me trouble, not falling is a good motivatior to ride better!

  7. #7
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    I vehemently oppose people leveraging technology without knowing why they want to use the technology or what how it will add to the enjoyment of an activity. There is widespread use of equipment because other people said one should or that it's better when it isn't always better for everyone in every use case. I believe clip less accounts for many of the injuries in this hobby - far more than necessary.

    When I read a statement like, "I was swayed," a big, fat, red flag goes up. Why do YOU want to go clip less?
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  8. #8
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    Good job! im alive

    Quote Originally Posted by ZmyDust View Post
    My philosophy for going clipless, especially on terrain as you're speaking of, is to keep the bike upright and rolling, and keep my cadence up. Worrying about what will happen if I spill is a waste of time - worry about clearing that uphill and keeping the rubber side down. I belive this has made me a better rider
    this i did, and i think i did fairly well today. i made it alive!

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbguy123 View Post
    I went clipless after 2 months. My advice is that you just have to anticipate further ahead when you need your foot. My example would be when I was riding with a group, the rider in front of me was struggling up a hill. I just had to have the presence of mind that I was going to need to clip out. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and you do it without even thinking about it. The trick is to keep moving!
    pretty much agree. as ive said i made through the ride alive! we were almost clearing the trail when one of my buds all of a sudden wanted to take the lead, slipping a curve and well, on a part where roots abounded he kinda struggled and i probably was just too close to him that i lost my balance and fell. all i got was just a small scratch, no biggy and still thankful i did well. moral of the story, make sure there is ample space between a newbie rider and a newbie rider riding clipless for the first time (although im not sure if seasoned clipless users try to maintain a sound distance between riders. . )

    .... turns out the wifey called and was looking for him! another moral of the story, do not ride with anybody that is in a time constraint... it would be safer to just ride the fire roads. .

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    I vehemently oppose people leveraging technology without knowing why they want to use the technology or what how it will add to the enjoyment of an activity. There is widespread use of equipment because other people said one should or that it's better when it isn't always better for everyone in every use case. I believe clip less accounts for many of the injuries in this hobby - far more than necessary.

    When I read a statement like, "I was swayed," a big, fat, red flag goes up. Why do YOU want to go clip less?
    i'd like believe i have a brain of my own that i can make my own decisions. i am mature enough and have enough wisdom to know what is right and wrong for me. i tried going clipless to experience the difference between going clipless and using platform pedals and there is. and quite noticeably, and the efficiently of the pedal strokes. i just felt my ride today was a lot easier... although im not sure if this is what i want since im on this for exercise and to lose weight... so harder strokes, more workout for me.

    in summary, for newer MTB riders that'll come across the same question as i have, going clipless is a good experience albeit there is really a factor of safety in regards to be able to break free your feet if you need to. and yes you will be able to get unclipped rather easily. you'd have to practice though to make it "second nature" as they say. i would have done a lot better if i rode for a bit going clipless and not just practice overnight.

    also, it would have helped if i did not forget to read the M540 manual. turns out there is a CLEAT i can use that will allow me to unclip in more ways rather than just SIDEWAYS that the stock cleat that came with my shoes only allows. ..

    thank you for your input guys... i promise ill get better on my next ride.. .
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  9. #9
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    I still have not made the transition yet, but I believe I will in the next few months. I have been MTB for about 3 months now everyday mon-sat. Local trail with lots of rocks and switchbacks on climbs, both of which make me nervous enough with platforms. What I notice from the good riders is their cadence, as long as they are trucking along it seems like no rock or quick bend really affects their balance, which is exactly what happens to me when I hit rocks or a switchback to slow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolv275 View Post
    I still have not made the transition yet, but I believe I will in the next few months. I have been MTB for about 3 months now everyday mon-sat. Local trail with lots of rocks and switchbacks on climbs, both of which make me nervous enough with platforms. What I notice from the good riders is their cadence, as long as they are trucking along it seems like no rock or quick bend really affects their balance, which is exactly what happens to me when I hit rocks or a switchback to slow.
    looks like you are more conditioned than i am.. therefore you should be able to do it..

    but, nobody else, experts as they may, would be able to tell if you are able or not. only you can... take your time... and have fun while you are..
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  11. #11
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    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  12. #12
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    Oh, and if you're Hell bent on clipless, practice track stands in the grass. Let yourself go past the point of no return to force you to get the muscle memory of unclipping subconsciously.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Oh, and if you're Hell bent on clipless, practice track stands in the grass. Let yourself go past the point of no return to force you to get the muscle memory of unclipping subconsciously.
    i concur with trackstands in tall grass. i practiced in a soccer field, nice and lush. trackstands and wheelies, falling out of both. didnt hurt at all, made me aware of how the shoes worked with the pedals, and gave me a glimpse of what to expect when i do crash.
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  14. #14
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    clipless is how I roll.
    I cant ride a bike with flats anymore, makes me feel clumsy and off balance. prolly just my head messin with me

    been clipless for years. Once, and only once did I fail to unclip. I ended up on my back with bike on top still clipped in. hurt my pride more than anything.
    Depending on pedal/cleat system, get a cleat with multi-directional clip, loosen up the tension. as you get more comfortable, tighten the tension up a bit. dont crank it down or you'll never get the cleat out.

    and like others said, practice on grass.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolv275 View Post
    ... What I notice from the good riders is their cadence, as long as they are trucking along it seems like no rock or quick bend really affects their balance, which is exactly what happens to me when I hit rocks or a switchback to slow.
    Momentum is the key to balance. It has to do with physics and angular momentum, but the action of rolling wheels on the bike helps to keep you balanced. At the extreme there are guys riding motorcycles over 180 mph doing landspeed runs and the bikes will stay balanced pretty much on their own due to the angular momentum of wheels.

    Clearly bikes that we ride don't go that fast, but physics is the same. There is one section of local trail is a river bend (slight uphill) and is 100% loose rocks the size of volleyballs. The only wat through it is to "motocross it". That means just pedal like hell to keep the bike moving. If you keep pedaling and the keep the wheels rolling the my 26" hardtail tackles it just fine. If you good too slow you are done.


    The good part about clipless pedals is it allows more power to the pedal when combined with stiff soled shoes and despite how rocky the terrain your feel will not come off. Once you get comfortalb with the pedals you will find that you can unclip very quickly when needed. What you can't do however is unclip while you are pushing down on the pedal.

    What I mean is that if the bike is falling to the left and you have you left foot down (fully extented) and try to release it won't work. Your foot will be stuck due to you weight pushing you back into the pedal. You need to learn to release before you feel the reaction to putting that foot down on the ground so that you are not pushing down on the pedal during release. Best to release with pedal either at the mid point or at the top of stroke rather than the bottom as you tend to put less downward pressure on pedal in those positions.
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  16. #16
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    i will never suggest that clipless is the way to go for everyone, but i would suggest that everyone tries both platform and clipless and decide THEN for themselves...

    the biggest fear for many riders considering trying clipless is - unclipping... there are other concerns, but this one is the biggest in my experience...

    and yes - there will be some spills at the beginning, and some of them will hurt, inevitably...

    but once we accustom ourselves with clipless pedals - unclipping becomes a second nature... you don't even have to think about it any more - your brain will issue commands almost independently once it is in the mayday mode...

    in the last few years - i have not had a spill that i did not unclip can separated myself from the bike - to the point that i had a couple of endos where i ended up on my feet in front of the bike...

    again, it becomes a second nature and it happens in split second, once you spend some time with clipless... how long is this time - it is individual...

    once this happens - you will stop thinking about your pedals and will think only how to get over that obstacle, switchback, or top of the hill... and in most cases - clipless will help you do it.

    once you are totally relaxed with clipless - then you decide if they are your game or not...

    good luck and enjoy your ride...



    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Yup!!

    I have 4 clipless rides under my belt now, and that is my philosophy as well. If I fall, oh well, I fall. Nobody ever said mountainbiking was safe. If I wanted to be safe I'd stick to the road.

    I installed the clpless just before getting back into MTB after years out of it, so I needed a little brush up on my skills. I think the clipless is helping me do that, as I'm making more of an effort to clear technical stuff rather than just dabbing. Since I'm still not confident that I can clip out quickly when I need to, I always think to myself "clear it or fall". And since it's usually some sort of rocky section that will give me trouble, not falling is a good motivatior to ride better!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bapski View Post


    i'd like believe i have a brain of my own that i can make my own decisions. i am mature enough and have enough wisdom to know what is right and wrong for me. i tried going clipless to experience the difference between going clipless and using platform pedals and there is. and quite noticeably, and the efficiently of the pedal strokes. i just felt my ride today was a lot easier... although im not sure if this is what i want since im on this for exercise and to lose weight... so harder strokes, more workout for me.

    in summary, for newer MTB riders that'll come across the same question as i have, going clipless is a good experience albeit there is really a factor of safety in regards to be able to break free your feet if you need to. and yes you will be able to get unclipped rather easily. you'd have to practice though to make it "second nature" as they say. i would have done a lot better if i rode for a bit going clipless and not just practice overnight.
    nicely said - way to go...

    also, it would have helped if i did not forget to read the M540 manual. turns out there is a CLEAT i can use that will allow me to unclip in more ways rather than just SIDEWAYS that the stock cleat that came with my shoes only allows. ..

    thank you for your input guys... i promise ill get better on my next ride.. .
    live and learn...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Momentum is the key to balance. It has to do with physics and angular momentum, but the action of rolling wheels on the bike helps to keep you balanced. At the extreme there are guys riding motorcycles over 180 mph doing landspeed runs and the bikes will stay balanced pretty much on their own due to the angular momentum of wheels.

    Clearly bikes that we ride don't go that fast, but physics is the same. There is one section of local trail is a river bend (slight uphill) and is 100% loose rocks the size of volleyballs. The only wat through it is to "motocross it". That means just pedal like hell to keep the bike moving. If you keep pedaling and the keep the wheels rolling the my 26" hardtail tackles it just fine. If you good too slow you are done.


    The good part about clipless pedals is it allows more power to the pedal when combined with stiff soled shoes and despite how rocky the terrain your feel will not come off. Once you get comfortalb with the pedals you will find that you can unclip very quickly when needed. What you can't do however is unclip while you are pushing down on the pedal.

    What I mean is that if the bike is falling to the left and you have you left foot down (fully extented) and try to release it won't work. Your foot will be stuck due to you weight pushing you back into the pedal. You need to learn to release before you feel the reaction to putting that foot down on the ground so that you are not pushing down on the pedal during release. Best to release with pedal either at the mid point or at the top of stroke rather than the bottom as you tend to put less downward pressure on pedal in those positions.
    i would add - smooth lines on top of momentum and you are golden... in rock garden - you need to look as far ahead as you can and pick good lines, then use momentum.... ratcheting will help you keep going without too much bashing on your equipment...

    i feel much more confident in the rock when i am clipped in... not worried about slipping and losing connection with my bike - for any reason... plus being clipped in makes it easier to toss the bike around and apply body english more efficiently...

    having said all this - i still think pedals are a personal preference and what works for me may not work for someone else... we all should pick the tool that we are the most comfortable with, not what others say is the holly grail....

  19. #19
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    Osokolo - totally agree. I ride clipless and I ride flats. There's nothing I can do on my SPDs that I can't do on my flats. The ONLY advantage I find is that I can unload my upstroke pedal a little easier on climbs without slipping off and my clipless pedal/shoe combo is a little lighter weight. I'm not convinced pulling on the upstroke is better. It seems like it in my head, but the research concludes otherwise.

    "In one study (Mornieux et al. Int J Sports Med 2008; 29:817-822) it was found that the pedal stroke of elite cyclists looked the same on flats and clipless pedals. Another study (Korff et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39:991-995) showed that pedaling in circles or pulling through the top of the pedal stroke resulted in a less powerful and efficient pedal stroke – *in other words, there is no “magical” pedal stroke that is only available by attaching your foot to the pedals.
    If you can’t pedal half as well without being attached to your pedals then that is a sure sign that you would benefit greatly from some time spent riding “raw”, so to speak, and building your technique and fitness base without the aid of being attached to your bike. Once you can ride almost as well on flats as you did on clipess, go back and try clipless pedals again and I’ll bet you see a big difference in how effectively you can use them."
    Source: Clipless Pedals: Enhancing Performance or Covering Up Dysfunction? | Exercises For Injuries

    Although the Ham Butt Problem and the Five Monkeys and a Ladder stories are Urban Ledgends, I believe we could learn something from the points the stories are trying to make.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    really good read, but i do find it odd that i do find a difference between using platform and clipless. seems like all my pedal strokes matter now. guess its just my mind playing tricks on me.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Oh, and if you're Hell bent on clipless, practice track stands in the grass. Let yourself go past the point of no return to force you to get the muscle memory of unclipping subconsciously.
    cant wait to try this out as this is a good idea..

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Momentum is the key to balance. It has to do with physics and angular momentum, but the action of rolling wheels on the bike helps to keep you balanced. .
    could'nt be more agreeable. what i have noticed is that on steep climbs and if i am exhausted, i usually would just fall short of finishing the climb. when i was clipped, probably because strokes were more efficient that i was able to finish the climb easier(?)

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Osokolo - totally agree. I ride clipless and I ride flats. There's nothing I can do on my SPDs that I can't do on my flats. The ONLY advantage I find is that I can unload my upstroke pedal a little easier on climbs without slipping off and my clipless pedal/shoe combo is a little lighter weight. I'm not convinced pulling on the upstroke is better. It seems like it in my head, but the research concludes otherwise.

    "In one study (Mornieux et al. Int J Sports Med 2008; 29:817-822) it was found that the pedal stroke of elite cyclists looked the same on flats and clipless pedals. Another study (Korff et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39:991-995) showed that pedaling in circles or pulling through the top of the pedal stroke resulted in a less powerful and efficient pedal stroke – *in other words, there is no “magical” pedal stroke that is only available by attaching your foot to the pedals.
    If you can’t pedal half as well without being attached to your pedals then that is a sure sign that you would benefit greatly from some time spent riding “raw”, so to speak, and building your technique and fitness base without the aid of being attached to your bike. Once you can ride almost as well on flats as you did on clipess, go back and try clipless pedals again and I’ll bet you see a big difference in how effectively you can use them."
    Source: Clipless Pedals: Enhancing Performance or Covering Up Dysfunction? | Exercises For Injuries

    Although the Ham Butt Problem and the Five Monkeys and a Ladder stories are Urban Ledgends, I believe we could learn something from the points the stories are trying to make.
    ...is what i want to say..

    ill definitely try the SH56 multi-directional cleat and see if its any better. im going for my second ride clipped tomorrow and hopefully ill be better! plus i need to be more safer as itll be a couple of us newbie monkey and another one that is clueless of what he is going into.
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    hmmmm...
    always wondered about them clip on cleets...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolv275 View Post
    I still have not made the transition yet, but I believe I will in the next few months. I have been MTB for about 3 months now everyday mon-sat. Local trail with lots of rocks and switchbacks on climbs, both of which make me nervous enough with platforms. What I notice from the good riders is their cadence, as long as they are trucking along it seems like no rock or quick bend really affects their balance, which is exactly what happens to me when I hit rocks or a switchback to slow.
    dude should you decide to try it out and decide on SPD, id highly recommend you using the SH56 cleat!

    it really was a big difference from the SH51 cleat that came with my M540 pedals..

    the SH56 cleats were very much easier to get out of... in fact lost momentum while going through a bed of rocks (id call them boulders) and was already preparing to fall when i just kinda re-positioned my left foot and got disengaged enough for me to plant my foot on the ground...

    ill be sticking on these cleats until i get used to going clipless... rest of the ride was exceptional and a lot of fun as usual..
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    I am conflicted by the clipless debate. Having gone clipless early on and gone back to platforms and realizing how lazy clipless pedals made me I wish I would have stayed with platforms until they were mastered. If you can't perform a perfect bunny hop over a decent object then you should stay on platform. If you can't move a bike around on platforms don't go clipless. But this is just how I don't want to have pedals coving for my deficiencies.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joedub917 View Post
    I am conflicted by the clipless debate. Having gone clipless early on and gone back to platforms and realizing how lazy clipless pedals made me I wish I would have stayed with platforms until they were mastered. If you can't perform a perfect bunny hop over a decent object then you should stay on platform. If you can't move a bike around on platforms don't go clipless. But this is just how I don't want to have pedals coving for my deficiencies.
    im gonna call shenanigans on this. i rode platforms long enough to get my feet comfortable under me, and still couldnt bunny hop a bottle cap. switched to clipless and said bottlecap is still in danger of being run over- but i feel better on the bike, and actually ride better too.

    at my age, ill take all the help i can get. if my spds are covering for a deficiency, so be it.
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    It was merely my opinion. Take it for what you want. I just think clipless give you a false sense of your abilities. If that is fine with you then all the power to you it just wasn't ok to me.

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    It is human nature to get you to join their "club" no matter what it is.

    Ah this argument again. Like wheel size, this one is always a hot topic and everyone always thinks they are right. I say ride what you like. Try them both, because you have a choice, and pick one. Heck you want to try something other than SPD clipless, like Egg Beaters, then try them too. Having choices is nice. I can't understand why people debate this stuff so much. You can give it an honest shot (if YOU want to) and if you like it, stick with it and if not go back to flats…………..don’t like either one, get a motorcycle
    The time I get to spend on the trails is precious to me as I work for a living and mother nature or life gets in my way quite a bit. When I go riding, I want my experience to be the best it can be for me. So I ride what I like, which is irrelevant to what anyone else likes. We are all different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and disciplines so to make generalizations on what is better from a functional point of view, is ridiculous. I ride them because I have been riding strapped to the bike for most of my life and I am more comfortable with it. I got my first road bike when I was 10 and that was before “clipless” pedals took off. We used toe clips and cleated shoes. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Baton Rouge and they have a velodrome. On the track bikes, we used toe clips. In 91, when I got my first MTB, you guessed it, toe clips. So when toe clips went really out of fashion, I migrated to clipless pedals. I have a couple of sets of flats, but don’t use them too often because I just don’t like them. What does all of this mean to you….. nothing. It is human nature to get you to join their “club”. Avoid the noise and ride what you like. I will tell you this. All that have ridden clipless fell when we first started. If that is the route you decide to go, think of it as a rite of passage. Bet when you learned to ride a bike with flats you fell too….although you may have only been 4 years old. There is no right or wrong answer. The answer is figure out what you like and are most comfortable with and flog it.

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    I didn't say I was right I just said it was my opinion I could care less what others do.

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    I would still like to see a scientific study that refutes the two I referenced
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    false sense of abilities?

    wow....

    one can also look at it from a different perspective. bunny hopping requires DIFFERENT technique with flats and clipless. what is the point of learning it with flats when you do it differently with clipless?

    since when has bunny hopping become a measuring stick of one's abilities? who really cares?

    the question that i have is pretty simple. if there is no advantage to having clipless - then why 100% of the WC XC riders use clipless?

    why even some top WC DH riders use clipless?

    if pedalling efficiency is pretty much the same (according to this article by some guy James and some interesting studies) why 100% of the road cyclists use clipless.

    also - let me understand this "false sense of your abilities" argument again - if one can bunny hop on platforms - and another one can bunny hop on clipless - is the one that can bunny hop on platform more skilled rider than the one on clipless?

    does it also mean that we all should ride rigid 26" bikes with platforms so that we learn all "required" skills before we start "cheating" on 29ers, full suspension and clipless?

    one of my friends thinks that the only reason people ride platform is so that they can bail easier off their bikes... is he right?

    can someone take a crack at answering some of my questions?

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    I used bunny hopping as one example. Once again I am just giving my perspective from my experiences. What I say may not translate to you. And "bunny hopping" using clipless by just lifting the bike up with your feet is poor technique (and you cant get remotely as high as when you do a real bunny hop)and is why I see 90% of clipless riders do. Where I ride it is important to be able to do a clean bunny hop or else I would be stopping every 5 minutes to get over an obstacle. Again I will repeat what I said in other posts do what you like I am just giving my opinion.

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    i was not trying to prove you or me right or wrong... for all intents and purposes - we are both right, as we are using tools that we both chose for our type of riding...

    this is more of a discussion and if you can address my other questions regarding pedalling efficiency which some guy James says is the same with both types of pedals... is it true?

    with regards to bunny hoping - with clipless - i can easily clear any up to 1 foot obstacle (mostly logs) at any speed... higher obstacles require slower speed only and some negotiating...

    what makes you think that clipless riders do not use your platform technique when bunny hoping? i never really felt i needed more height when bunny hoping with clipless - is it possible that i can get enough height even with clipless?

    what are other advantages of platforms and is it true that the main reason people ride platform is so that they can bail off their bikes easier?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joedub917 View Post
    I used bunny hopping as one example. Once again I am just giving my perspective from my experiences. What I say may not translate to you. And "bunny hopping" using clipless by just lifting the bike up with your feet is poor technique (and you cant get remotely as high as when you do a real bunny hop)and is why I see 90% of clipless riders do. Where I ride it is important to be able to do a clean bunny hop or else I would be stopping every 5 minutes to get over an obstacle. Again I will repeat what I said in other posts do what you like I am just giving my opinion.

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    wmac - scientific studies are just that - scientific studies...

    i have a simple question for you:

    lance armstrong used science to improve his cycling to the max, right?

    if it is true that platform and clipless are equally efficient, and that hamstring (or pull up stroke) were not important - why do we not see a single rider on the road or XC using platform pedals?

    i just have that one simple question for you. what do you think?

    this is not a discussion which pedal type is better - for the record - i believe neither is BETTER for any specific rider - they are both good options for different types of riding and different expectations by the rider. each rider will pick a pedal that suits him/her better, not because the pedal is better...



    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    I would still like to see a scientific study that refutes the two I referenced

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    riding both at times, (80% clipped, 20% flats) i can say the only real difference i notice is fatigue level, and maybe a bit of speed over certain types of terrain. but fatigue is the biggest one. If there is a lot of smooth fast spinning and climbing, then i would get less tired clipped in. i can just mindlessly spin without wasting effort keeping my foot at the right angle on flats (as not to bounce).

    however, slow techincal stuff, without much climbing, i dont really feel the difference. i actually like platforms for that stuff because i feel more balanced. Again, thats because floating on a cleat feels funny to me. Personal preference.

    makes sense for pro riders who care about speed and energy ( or energy loss from fatigue) to be clipped in. These days though, there are so many good flat coming out, and appropriate shoes (5tens) that aggressive riders are enjoying them. i've been seeing more and more 5tens on the trail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    i have a simple question for you:

    lance armstrong used science to improve his cycling to the max, right?

    There are rules preventing him from using that technology

    if it is true that platform and clipless are equally efficient, and that hamstring (or pull up stroke) were not important - why do we not see a single rider on the road or XC using platform pedals?

    i just have that one simple question for you. what do you think?

    I think there are several reasons:
    1. It is a Ham Butt or Five Monkeys and a Ladder problem - attaching one's feet to one's pedals has been part of the cycling ethos since the 1860s.

    2. When using the hamstring stroke, you can feel your foot pulling up on the pedal and feel the other foot pushing on the other one. It most certainly feels like one is producing more watts using this technique.

    3. There aren't any racing specific flat pedals or shoes. There is more R&D $ spent on improving clipless shoes and pedals for racing application than flat combos. All flat pedals and shoes are designed for all mountain, dirt jumping and recreational riding. The rotational weight of the current offering of flat pedals and shoes could be drastically improved.

    This thread has been rolling around in my head all day. In fact, as soon as I finish this post, I am going to send an email to someone at 5.10 suggesting they design an MTB shoe more like a wrestling shoe than a skateboard shoe. The current MTB flats aren't good for XC racing - they are hot and heavy. I plan on buying a pair of these and trying them out: ASICS® UltraTek™ Wrestling Shoes ***** Color: (5923) [JY800] : WRESTLING-CENTRAL

    I suspect they will need a stiffer sole. If they had a semi-rigid shank that runs from the ball of the foot to the heel, they would be ideal.

    I have believed clip less is better for going faster for 25+ years. I am only now questioning if clip less pedals are the best choice for recreational riding, training or any riding other than racing by elite riders (just as elite track runners use track shoes whereas most recreational runners do not).

    I brought this article up as a consideration point because, as the OP's friends demonstrated, many riders look at clip less pedals as a Rite of Passage based on The Ham Butt Problem, not scientific evidence. Further, studies suggest that there is a high percentage of injuries caused by the use of clip less pedals and that many, if not most, could be avoided. Are the benefits so great that the risks of use during recreational and training rides justified?

    I would like to see a scientific study that outlines the gains of cliples over flats so I, and others, can make an informed decision based on real data and information. So far, the only real data I can find goes against the common belief, which is based on feeling and experience. I do believe, if a study exists, or if one is performed, we would see:

    1. Watts are generated on the upstroke using the hamstring technique.
    2. The use of the hamstring technique is limited to very short periods of time during a ride.
    3. Elite riders will be able to leverage this technique to their advantage and non-elite riders will not.

    My questions are: are those watts generated on the upstroke at the expense of watts generated on the downstroke; or are the watts generated during the upstroke at expense of watts that could have been generated after the use of the hamstring technique (does a recovery period need to occur after a climb or sprint and could that recovery period be eliminated or shortened by eliminating the use of the hamstring technique)?

    I assume that we can all agree that the use of the hamstring technique is limited to difficult climbs and sprints. If the use of the hamstring technique proves to be neutral or negative during a climb, is the only real benefit of clip less pedals realized during a sprint to the finish? If that is the case, if that is the case, the use of clip less pedals in recreational MTB is unnecessary.






    this is not a discussion which pedal type is better - for the record - i believe neither is BETTER for any specific rider - they are both good options for different types of riding and different expectations by the rider. each rider will pick a pedal that suits him/her better, not because the pedal is better...
    I agree that this is not a discussion of which pedal is better. I am challenging the long standing belief that the benefits of riding exclusively with clip less pedals outweigh the health risks associated. I am asking for the elite, veteran, riders to point me to scientific data that refutes the only scientific data I have been able to find on the subject so I can make a more informed decision.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

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    Wait, scratch that - 5.10 was acquired by Adidas for $25M.

    It doesn't look very difficult to get a shoe from concept to production: How to Make Shoes. Part One.

    I may be going into the shoe and pedal business - who wants to place an advanced order?
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    On extended climbs, 2000 to 4000 + foot verticals like we have in So Calif, clipless SPD's are an advantage, you use more muscles, but it allows some muscles to rest a bit more. It definitely makes you faster on the climbs, enables you to put more power to the pedals when you learn to pedal in a circular motion.

    They do take some getting used to, but also become instinctual in exiting also, with time. The learning curve is quick if you ride an hour 3x a week on trails... really quick. Sure, you will fall, but that makes you learn faster to not repeat your mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joedub917 View Post
    It was merely my opinion. Take it for what you want. I just think clipless give you a false sense of your abilities. If that is fine with you then all the power to you it just wasn't ok to me.
    If it's your opinion--which it clearly is--why present it as fact? By doing that you are misleading a legion of new riders and trying to sway them to your point of view. It's inconsiderate and an unfortunate side affect of thinking you're right with something that is largely opinion based and has no right answer.

    Read AndrewSwtch and my post about this very same rediculous debate in the posts on page two of this thread. And then stop all the bullcrap idiocy this subject tends to pull out of people.
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    Osokolo: you wrote this in the above mentioned thread, I hope I don't quote it out of context: "in case your statement is an absolute truth - it would be nice to post the link to some sort of a reputable study that confirms your statements, because in my case - you are not even close... now - let's not turn this into a flame war - i do believe that you feel strongly about what you say but it may be misleading for new riders..."

    Can someone post the link to some sort of a reputable study that confirms the statement, "clip less pedals are more efficient than platform pedals."
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

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    Monzie, did you just happen to not read all of my posts? I just said I have found in my PERSONAL experience meaning being out on the trail not some Internet poll where people think they are better then they are. MOST of the people I see riding with clipless are either hardcore XC riders(this is fine just not my thing) who are good riders(small percentage) the others are new that are experimenting( also fine I just think I delays development). Again this is just what I see around ME i have no scientific study to back this up so sorry. I am also sorry to the legion of new riders I am letting down lol. People are going to do what they want.

    I am not saying clipless are bad I still ride clipless every now and then. I just think people starting out should stay on flats for a bit. I have no "evidence" to support my claim of staying on flats other then that was my personal experience and what other more seasoned riders have given me for advice that I have found to be correct.

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    @osokolo
    I brought this article up as a consideration point because, as the OP's friends demonstrated, many riders look at clip less pedals as a Rite of Passage based on The Ham Butt Problem, not scientific evidence. Further, studies suggest that there is a high percentage of injuries caused by the use of clip less pedals and that many, if not most, could be avoided. Are the benefits so great that the risks of use during recreational and training rides justified?
    my friends where encouraging me to try going clipless not as a rite of passage.. they where just telling me how in their opinion going clipless was better than using flats.. one of them pointed out how dangerous the flats are with the grips "thingys" sticking out and hitting my shin should my feet slips while pedaling and going down on a trail at the same time...

    also think using clipless pedals are giving my butt a good workout.. .lol..
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    Awesome

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    Opinion from an old guy, riding since before many here were born (okay - I'm only 41!). Took the last 15 years off, except teaching my daughter to ride...now back into this.. riding every other day for 1-2 hours...

    Out of shape and bad knees, I needed my clipless. The bike came with flats, but my old arthritic knees and hips (one knee has lots of cartilage missing) , could not take constant riding with flats. The clipless allowed me use other muscles and lift/push/pull etc... to keep going much longer without having to stop - or better - to keep momentum and clear the obstacle or hill.

    I can bunny hop either pedal, but not very high any more. I have been clipped in since the beginning of time it seems, and never rode BMX.

    I practice track stands and wheelies as often as I can, all clipped in.

    The flats will go on from time to time once my knees and hips are in shape, as I do feel they are better in technical and downhill stuff (not much of that in my neck of the woods). I've read many threads here, and is seems the flats people hold most of the animosity toward cilpless...flats make you better, etc, etc... I am only looking to be better than myself, and enjoy the ride - for ME that's clipped in.

    Flats pedals? You want to have some real fun - clip in and hit the last obstacle that got your adrenaline pumping.

  43. #43
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    bapski - you are the proof

    which is in the pudding by the way, that clipless pedals work better for you. you felt the difference immediately. i guess you didn't get the memo from the scientists that there is no advantage to clipless.

    to my friend wmac - if you are saying that ALL PRO RIDERS on the road and XC MTB are using clipless only because they do not know better OR because platform pedals are heavier - i have nothing for you that can challenge your opinion.

    except that platform pedals were used way before clipless, so following your logic - everyone should have stayed with platform. i think your logic is flawed and you are just trying to justify the fact that you are using platforms - WHICH IS COMPLETELY FINE and my statement is just my opinion.

    to say that there is no advantage to using clipless for all road and xc cyclists - is... well... uninformed at best... why would almost everyone use clipless if not to their advantage?

    even at low levels, and i race almost every weekend, sometimes twice per week - there is MAYBE 1 or 2 riders out of 150 on weekly races, or MAYBE 1 out 500-700 riders at our provincial Cup series which include levels from beginner to elite... i can't believe they all do it because of some placebo effect or peer pressure...

    heck, even OP noticed the difference...

    also - what injuries are you talking about that are due to using clipless? never heard about that - but did hear quite a few bloody shins, and cuts to the bone due to platforms and their "traction studs"....

    at the end of the day - i do believe that the efficiency advantage/disadvantage of each type pedal is as clear as night and day and if one is disputing that clipless pedals are more efficient - the discussion may be a waste of time and bandwidth... we can discuss convenience, comfort, application etc... but i believe efficiency is not for any sensible discussion...

    having said all this - i still think that it is the individual choice of each rider which pedal they should use... same as 29er or 650 etc... nothing is carved in stone and one's nightmare may be someone else's dream solution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joedub917 View Post
    .. If you can't perform a perfect bunny hop over a decent object then you should stay on platform. If you can't move a bike around on platforms don't go clipless. But this is just how I don't want to have pedals coving for my deficiencies.
    I can't bunny hop. I can't bunny hop on platforms or clipless. I can almost bunny hop on clipless, but only the cheater way. Still I would not go back to platforms for anything and I ride all kinds of trails. I do just fine in the techy stuff too.
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    Yes, I'm arguing that anyone who races road or MTB XC trains and races with clip less pedals because, rightfully or wrongfully:
    1. Competitive cyclists have attached their feet to their pedals since the very first documented cycling race in 1868.
    2. There is a clear increase in torque/watts delivered to the rear wheel when using the hamstring technique properly.
    3. There isn't any platform pedal/shoe technology that can match the clip less pedal/shoe combination in weight and breath ability.

    I think it is important I make this point: I have ridden a total of ZERO miles on platform pedals in the past year. I have two bikes with platforms that I do not ride.

    I have never argued that there is no advantage to using clip less pedals. I have supported the belief that there is an advantage for elite riders during racing. I further recognize that clip less pedals have a clear advantage during climbs and sprints.

    It's just that I cannot find any scientific data to SUPPORT the absolute truth you and I have believed for most of our lives. The only scientific study I can find REFUTES the common held belief that clip less pedals advantage is an absolute truth.

    It is absolutely clear as night and day that using the hamstring technique during climbs and sprints results in greater power output. My questions are:

    1. What happens AFTER that power output occurs?
    2. Are the risks worth the benefit?
    Studies reporting injuries caused by riders attached to their bicycles with clip less pedals:
    Mountain bike injuries and clipless pedals: a review of three cases -- Patel 38 (3): 340 -- British Journal of Sports Medicine
    http://www.jmedicalcasereports.com/c...1947-5-219.pdf
    The Effect of Clipless Float Design on Shoe/Pedal Interface Kinetics and Overuse Knee Injuries During Cycling
    Biomechanics of cycling
    Mountain biking injuries: a review

    The reason I am engaging in this discussion is because I have been experiencing a little pain in my left knee recently. Some of these studies reference clipless pedals causing overuse injury to the knees. Granted, I twisted my knee riding MX in February and did some damage by overtraining for a running marathon a couple years back. I have been seriously contemplating going back to flats and wanted to see how much disadvantage I would be at compared to my friends who I ride with. I'm not sure I want to risk twisting it again because I'm so convinced clip less is better for me. I just ran my fingers along my shins and felt every dent my bear trap pedals made when riding BMX as a kid.

    I am not an elite rider. I will never be an elite rider. I am just a guy who is really good at research who hasn't been able to answer a question that has been burning a hole in his head for several years. I am hoping someone can point me to something beyond, "I can feel it and everyone does it, so it must be better."
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    Dude - injuries that you listed - that have been "scientifically researched" are inherent to the sport of mountain biking. They have as much to do with clipless as head injuries in traffic accidents while victims were wearing white underwear.

    It would be the same as blaming injuries in Downhill racing/riding on platforms.

    Why are there no scientific studies proving something about clipless pedals? What is there to prove?

    I am still looking for scientific study that will prove that there is more light during the day in New York. Dammit. There is not a single one, therefore there is no more light during the day compared to the night time.

    Back to being serious - if your knee issues are aggravated by riding clipless - I would try clipless with more float. My Eggbeaters are awesome and I have the worst grade arthritis in my left knee thanks to massive infection after my doc did the scope in 2000. Not much soft tissue left in there. Clipless don't bother it much, but when I am not riding - I can feel it. If you feel better riding platforms - then they are the best pedals for you. Comparing the two and looking for scientific studies is totally redundant in my opinion.

    Like we don't have enough ridiculous and useless studies that mean diddly squat.

    Listen to your body. It will give you all the answers that you need.

    As far as I am concerned - I can do way better scientific research on myself than any some guy like James.

    By the way - the industry had way more time to perfect platform pedals - compared to clipless. There will never be as light platforms nor light platform shoes because that is completely against the concept of platforms.

    Both types have their place in this sport and are not mutually exclusive. Nor hey should be.


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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    "I can feel it and everyone does it, so it must be better."
    Therein could lay your problem.

    Neither one is BETTER.

    Either one has its advantages and disadvantages for each and every one rider.

    Which one is better FOR YOU is totally individual and may not apply to anyone else.

    Listen to your body. It works for me.



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    Osokolo: Those are case studies performed by doctors and written up in medical journals concluding that the injuries would not have occurred had the rider been using flat pedals instead of clip less. You asked for studies, I gave you studies.

    You want a scientific study on running daylight vs nightime in New York? New York, New York - Sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk times for the whole year - Gaisma

    In another thread, you stated to someone else that, and I'm paraphrasing, if something were absolute truth, it would be nice if one could point to a reputable study to verify it.

    I don't think it's fair, or wise to dismiss scientific research by simply stating, that's wrong because my own direct experience and observation is more accurate than some scientific study. That you can just feel it is more efficient.

    Let's assume you are right and the studies regarding peddling efficiency are wrong. How wrong are they? Are you 100% correct? If not 100% correct, how wrong are you?

    If you've got some time, read this: Asimov - The Relativity of Wrong
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Osokolo: Those are case studies performed by doctors and written up in medical journals concluding that the injuries would not have occurred had the rider been using flat pedals instead of clip less. You asked for studies, I gave you studies.[/quote}

    the case studies failed to conclude that if he did not ride his MTB he would not have been injured, eh? Nevermind... based on my long experience, when eating it large on my bike - clipless pedals are the least of my worries... trees, rocks, cars, hardback are way bigger concern than clipless - and if you are trying to say that based on these 3 riders and this study - the clipless pedals are inherently more dangerous - i can only shake my head... but all power to you... do you test drive your cars or you buy them based on Consumer Reports? Just asking...

    In another thread, you stated to someone else that, and I'm paraphrasing, if something were absolute truth, it would be nice if one could point to a reputable study to verify it.
    i guess the definition of reputable is debatable. you are using some guy's James website and his opinion as a reputable study that dismisses the myths of clipless pedals - i do not really agree with it. many newbies that come here to read these comments may be confused with this. who is this guy James and since when is he an authority in cycling biomechanics? but if you like his study - again, all power to you.

    I don't think it's fair, or wise to dismiss scientific research by simply stating, that's wrong because my own direct experience and observation is more accurate than some scientific study. That you can just feel it is more efficient.
    my own experience and observation is ALWAYS more accurate than some scientific study TO ME. in case of pedalling efficiency - apparently it is not just me. just about every road rider agrees and probably a great majority of MTB XC riders... they must be onto something... or they are all collectively delusional.
    Let's assume you are right and the studies regarding peddling efficiency are wrong. How wrong are they? Are you 100% correct? If not 100% correct, how wrong are you?

    If you've got some time, read this: Asimov - The Relativity of Wrong[/QUOTE]

    i test drive cars that i buy. i also test ride bikes i buy. i rode many pedals before i settled with Eggbeaters because i liked them the most - no knee pain, easy to get in and get out, light and durable in my experience, best mud and snow shedding ability. i know exactly why i like them. i didn't read it in any scientific study or consumer review. that may be the difference between you and i.

    which is completely fine... i truly wish you success in finding all answers you may have but i know you will not find the answer to one question that you asked. which one is better.

    because neither is better.

    better is one which suits YOU better...

    good luck.

  50. #50
    sock puppet
    Reputation: osokolo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,047
    just watch Tour de France or WC XC. pay attention to pedals.
    there is your study.

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